Well, I put off quitting my coffee habit until yesterday, figuring I'd have the two days of the weekend at least, to deal with the withdrawal headache. I concentrated on eating well and drank lots of herbal teas, particularly teas with chamomile and hops, to help those irritable nerves to settle. It worked. I had a mild headache last night before going to bed, but minor, compared to what I might have expected, considering also the amount of coffee I was consuming daily!
I really identified with a woman from Calgary who responded to the CBC Sunday news piece remembering the masacre of 14 women at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal
. She said that just after the news of the shootings broke, she was waiting at a commuter stop with a couple of gentlemen dressed in business attire. She overhead one say to the other, in regard to the shootings: "It's understandable...sometimes they just make you so mad..." Doesn't it just give you the creeps? How many times have I heard something similar? It makes one wonder if men allow the carnage to go on because passively, they benefit from the implied threat to the women in their own lives, whereby their women become intimidated and more subject to control??
I really believe, that unless a man consciously examines the priviliges he enjoys just because he is a male, he is all too willing to defend his position of power by any means necessary, whether he "deserves" his priviliges or not. I'm sad when men say to me, "but I'm not an abuser." " I don't rape women..." "It's not my fault. "
Neither is it my fault that we live in a world of privilige and plenty and millions of children are starving and dying....No. That is not true
. Whenever I turn away, whenever I don't say something, vote, do something positive towards the end of reducing the suffering in the world, as a citizen of the world, I take the side of the oppressors
who are the root causes of the poverty and suffering of others.
I'm not egotistical enought to think that my little actions will add up to make any great dent in the huge amount of injustice and suffering, but I will act in faith that I must do something, and maybe my action will become a part of a great network of likeminded people doing something, until someday the tide will turn. This relates to my thoughts on Fame, below:
Speaking of Ego, I read a question today on another blog site, asking: How famous do you want to be?
How famous do I want to be? I think this has to do with belonging to a community. Being infamous, perhaps might mean one doesn't belong, and not being known at all, also leaves one out of community. When one's efforts are acknowledged, by family, friends, strangers, it is a great positive reinforcement to continue, that what one is doing has meaning.
How many people need to acknowledge what I am doing? Maybe that is related to how needy one feels, but it could also depend on how big a task one has taken on, how many people one hopes to benefit by the work. Having people who appreciate you, that you exist, and appreciate the things you do is a special thing. It is more than being compensated with a salary. It has more to do with belonging. To me, that is an important need, sadly, not fulfilled in the lives of many people.
How many people describe what they do as "just a job"? A group of us from my paying job met the other night to re-evaluate ourselves and how we are doing in our chosen career. We joked that we are not all that committed to the profession because given the opportunity (if say, we won the lottery), we would hand in our resignations en masse! That is sad, because I think we are often underappreciated, feel insignificant in our community and corporation, and feel what we might be able to contribute is often never given a chance for full expression! Now, I'm talking about a group of women who are passionate, caring, very intelligent, educated and highly skilled. My respect for these women, my peers, is enormous. I know what they can do, what they have done in the past. My heart aches because what they could accomplish if given half a chance would blow the world we live in apart. Enormous blessings that will never see the light of day, suffering alleviated, knowledge and understanding expanded, humour, delight, music, light, food, creativity, spirituality, irreverence, love...
At the end of our evening of self-evaluation, the talk evolved into the comic reliving of momentous occasions at work. The stories, the words, the poetry, the comedic exuberance, the sharp insights,the human kindness, all left me breathless, laughing till it hurt and tears streamed down my face.
I sometimes wonder if these women ever know how really, really spectacular
I see my friends and coworkers as these enormous talents, stuffed into itty-bitty roles defined and enforced on them by our workplace, and the way it sees itself as a "citizen" (I resent the way corporations have more rights in society than individuals) in this society. The ends are supposedly the larger
good of the corporation, but I think it's a loss to us all.
I'm a big believer in small is beautiful. Great things have been accomplished by some people, but at what cost? Much harder, I believe, is to start with one's family, one's neighbours--who presumably know one's defecits as well as strengths, and are less willing to accept a prophet in one's own home. The 'great' people who conquer the world are often people who step on others on the way up, neglect their spouse and children, keep the larger goal
uppermost, sacrificing the "smaller" things that should never be sacrificed on the way up to the top. My reverse focus would be on the "little" individual ...taking care of those who are within reach of my arms, sharing with the neighbor who has less than I do...never mind global markets!
In my experience of big organizations, the goal of the organization soon becomes to maintain itself
, vs actually producing or doing anything real to benefit the world. The people in the organization often become expert at furthering their career and maintaining it, vs actually producing or doing anything real. The focus becomes inward and competitive/defensive vs the outside world, instead of product/service orientated in relation to the world in which the organization exists. This makes everyone in the organization smaller, and shrinks the corporation's perception of the world to numbers, statistics, consumer groups, budget deficits and profit margins, & other such dead concepts. Presumably, most business organizations come into existence to provide a product/service, but that quickly becomes lost as the interests of the organization shift to increasing profits, shrinking the bottom line, and defending itself from unhappy consumers, competitors, and 'conflicting interests" like: job markets, environmental concerns, the welfare of the whole society in which the organization moves. The shift should never occur, as far as I'm concerned, because it is too shortsighted to assume that the interests of the whole society, the individuals in it, and the health of the natural world around you, are not your own interests, whether you are an individual or a corporation.
The Gaia perspective, and any philosophy like it, that understands our human need to be reunited with an undifferentiated unitary consciousness, a "participation mystique" with nature, an identification with the anima mundi,
of the soul of the world, of the community of all being, of the all-pervading, of mystery and ambiguity, of imagination, emotion, instinct, body, nature, woman...all this cannot be measured and appreciated by the "pure science" of paternalistic technocracies who are so easily subverted to specific political and economical agenda. While they consume huge resources and intelligence for purposes of social and ecoligical domination
, they have long ago succumbed to the "thrall of man's own self-destructive irrationality," as Richard Tarnas describes in the Passion of the Western Mind
. The disconnect leaves even individuals who run these corporations feeling shocked, alienated, and separated from "the ground of our being", physically, emotionally, philosophically, socially, and spiritually, not even mentioning the rest of us poor buggers who struggle with the decimation of the natural world, the erosion of our natural resources and the undermining of the values of our communities.
Realizing our interconnectedness to everything in the universe, from the tiniest microorganizm to the stars, in a mystical way, helps us to value the grief we feel, to understand our grief, and to cope with this grief, as we see the wholesale destruction and wounding of the world and us in it.
This is my desire, not Fame, in the usual sense. By allowing myself to be vulnerable and open to the energies and information that extend beyond the reach of conscious ego, I hope to belong to the human community, in a deepening recognition of partnership and pluralism; the reconnection of body and emotion, the unconscious, the imagination and intuition; the recognition of the immanent intelligence of nature. Any creative or intellectual breakthrough I hope to have, I wish it to come as a profound Illumination, as a Revelation of the divine creative principle itself, not as my own purposively rational effort; not my individual genius, rather the real inclusion of the phenomena of art, religion, and dream, resulting in a small sparkling cycle in the great interconnected spirals of life itself.
In that respect, I'm pretty sure, I could never be the CEO of a large multinational corporation. The individual customer, the individual employee and the individual neighbour of my corporation would always be more interesting and relevant to me, than say fluctuations of 1 or 2 % in my profit margin for the investors...